Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1996 05 08

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 89 of 91

DAY.SIX B Kit Palmer y ife was good. My high school years we re so me of my most memorab le, non e of whic h h ad m uc h to do with hig h school. At tha t ti me, I he ld d o wn a pa rt-ti me job (which ul timat ely led to a fu ll- ti me jo b) i n th e au to mo tive de par t me n t at K-M art , and p re tty much my only respon sibili ty in life ot he r than perhaps try ing to grad ua te - was kee pi ng th e o il aisle full y stocke d and making su re th e lab el s wer e facing fo rwa rd . I could live w ith that. For me, my worst nightmar e was seei ng a cus to me r en te r th e front of th e s tore a nd head s tra ig ht towa rds the au to mo tive d epartment , turn le ft d own th e oil aisle and gra b six qu arts five minutes befo re closi ng tim e, forcin g me to go back in th e stoc k ro om , drag ou t a no the r case of oil and refill my once-pe rfect ais le. Errg ! I also spent some tim e working in the spor tin g g o o d s department. .1 didn't know mu ch about fishing, bu t I did know th at I go t sic k and tired of having to get down on my ha nds a nd knees a nd recapture live crickets a nd nig htc raw lers (used fo r fish bait, I believe) that some joker d ecid ed to set free o n the floor in my depar tment. Actuall y, it was kind of fun ny . They were easy to find - you' d just listen for the screa ms . St i ll , li fe was g o od b ack th en . Believe it o r not, it w as kind of fu n workin g at K-Ma rt, m u ch of w h ic h had to do with getting pa id every Friday, in cash. Later that da y, with all that loo se cha ng e jing ling around in m y pocket, I'd load m y motorcycle i n to m y tru ck and head s t ra ig h t to Corona Racew ay for Friday Night MX. Forge t high schoo l foo tball games; forget the late-night parties, a nd certa inly fo rge t th e dan ces . Corona Rac eway was my Friday night ha ngout. I went t h e r e reli giousl y for four strai gh t yea rs. I never did much dating. I guess the cold metal sea ts in the gra nds ta nds and the sme ll of burning Yam alube R wasn' t rom anti c e no ug h to warrant that th e elusive second date. Com e Sa tu rd ay I'd be back at KMa rt stocki ng oil or ch asing cric kets, th e n I'd go racing aga in on Sund ay, usually a t DeA nza Cycle Park or Sad - L dleback Park. Both of those trac ks a re go ne no w , b ut that K-M ar t is s tilI the re. Life was simple. Easy work. Jingle, jingle, Race. Easy wo rk. Jingl e, jingle. Race. Week after week. Fun, fun, fun . Then I had to go and blow it all . I go t a job a t a motorcycle shop. The o w ner of a loca l m o torcycl e deale rs hip I rod e ou t o f tr ack ed m e d own w hile I was on my lunch hour a t K-Ma rt and offe red me a "parts" job. "I need so meone to he lp o ut a t the coun ter," he said. I thou ght, "Bitchin' ! Wh en d o I s tart? I love m ot orcycl es and what better job is th ere for an 18yea r-ol d wa nna-be factory MXer tha n w or kin g in a b ik e s hop?" Pe rh ap s wo rk ing a nywhe re but a mot o rcycl e shop. "Yea h, man , I need a pa rt for my Hond a." Littl e d id I kno w th at a few m onths later th at th ese n in e wo rds wo uld drive me friggi n' crazy. Actua lly, it really wasn' t th ose words per se, itwas th e co nse rva tio n that usually followed t hat w o u ld ki cks tart my mig rai ne . I knew what lay ah ead. M y obvio us res po nse would be , "Wha t kin d?" In return, th e cu stomer wou ld usu ally look a t me as thou gh I was a comp lete idio t. "A Honda!!!" You co u ld almost hear him finis h u p with " %$# &#". "I mean , wha t kind of Hond a?" "A red on e." Arrrg! "Ho nd a mak es a lot of red mo torcycles ," I would say ca lm ly, w hile forcing a smil e. "Actu ally, it' s red no w, but I th ink it was silver, or gra y, o r so me thi ng like that, wh en it was new." "Do you know what year it is?" "N o . Ma ybe ab out a 197 0-som eth ing. Three, fou r, mayb e five ." " Is it a tw o-stroke or fou r-s troke?" "Huh?" "Is it a CB, CL or CR?" "Hu h?" " Does i t have down-pip es , m idpipes or up-pipes?" "They come up on the si de of the bik e." . Oka y, n ow w e'r e g etting so mewh ere. "Could it be a CL?" "Uhh. Yeah. That ' s it." I w as ve ry s u r p rised how m an y p eop le d idn 't know what kind of motorcycle th ey owne d. Id entifyin g th e bike was jus t s te p o ne. You ca n only imagine how ha rd it was tryin g to figu re o ut what part it was they needed. It was usually "...tha t kind of square thing that goes into the round thing in the engine. It' s only this big." Thank God for microfiche - God 's gif t to motorcycle parts-coun ter operators. Now , I've been down t his t r a il before. At this poin t, I knew I was in for a long one, and it d idn' t he lp matte r s m u ch w he n m y co unte r mate stand ing next to me had the Drag Specialties catalog ou t for a Gold Win ger . Whe n yo u work on commission, Gold Wing rid ers are you r best frien d . "Tha t chrome light ba r will make yo ur bi ke look aweso me . Tha t'll be $264 .13 please." Mea n wh il e, a h a lf h our lat er , I co m e to th e co ncl usion the guy I'm hel ping need s a $2 cran k key for hi s 1972 CL350 . I would go back to the parts bin to see if we have part number 09876-MB4-906 in stock . And of cou rse, we didn't, in s pit e of th e fact our inven tory sheet said we s hou ld hav e two sitting in the d us t-filled box. I would blow in the box jus t in case, hoping one was buried in the muck. No s u c h luck . I wo uld r e lu ctan tl y re tu rn to the fron t line. "Wha t d o you mean you do n't have o ne?" Mr . CL w o u ld sn a p ba ck . " I can ' t believe yo u don't have one. You guys suck. Forget it. I'll jus t have to go so me w he re else. But, hey,eviIl yo u wri te that part number down for me? I'm su re The Other Gu ys Mot o d own the s treet will ha ve on e." Perhaps the ver y worst part abou t w orking a parts co u n ter is telling a cus tome r on Sat urd ay tha t the pa rt he s peci a l o rd e red la st Tu esda y is on ba ck o r d er on a b oat so m e w he re between Taipei and the Port o f Los Angeles, and that he won't be able to rid e the Bad Bunn y GP tomorrow . Hon estly, that ' s no fun . Some cu stomers took the bad news in s trid e, o thers did not . N o o ne wants to tell so me o ne th ey ca n' t go rid ing, so go eas y on yo ur local parts guy the next tim e he informs you that your con -rod bearing is on back order. There were cert ain parts we dread ed having to sell, most notab ly cables, as in clu tch, th rottle and fron t bra ke cables . Have yo u e ve r noticed that , th er e' s usually nev er an ybody work- . ing the parts counter wh en you walk up n eedin g a new thr ott le ca b le? Th at ' s beca use they saw you strolling across th e parki ng lo t with you r old cable in your hand a nd th ey're in the back of th e stock room arm wrestling as to w ho gets to he lp yo u . You see, ca bles a re cu mbe rso me a nd hard to organize in the s toc k room. At least they were a t ou r shop. We hu ng ou r cab les o n hooks mou n ted on a series of swi ngi ng "doors," a nd these cables w ould n ev er s ta y o n th e ho ok s .. In st ead , th e y'd spe nd m o st o f th eir tim e piled on the grou nd u nde rnea th the doors, layin g there like a ga me o f Pick-Up Sticks . Pretty soon the cables never matched wit h their correspo nding part-numbe r tags on the d oors, so yo u'd s pe n d th e n e xt h our o r s o ma tchi ng u p the old cable w ith hundred s of new cab les. Spokes. eed I say more? Perhaps the single part or accessory I sold mo st during my one-year tenu re had nothing to d o with motorcycles bu t w ith ATVs. If I had a dollar for every six-pac k rack I sold for an ATC 185Sor a 250R, I'd still be a very rich man today. We cou ld never keep those things in stock. Why doesn' t that surprise me? And then there was the d aily ritual of push ing th e new mot orcycles fro m the showroom floor to the ou tside lot and vice versa . Afte r spe ndi ng a lon g, hot d ay beh ind the parts cou nter - with n oth in g m ore th an a swa mp coo le r bl ow in g o ver head - selli ng, ca bles , dowel pins and six-pack racks, the last thing you want to do is pu sh 50 motorcycles back into a space that was originally designed to accommod a te about 10 bikes , all the while trying not drop a ny o f t h e bikes o r to incur an y scratches. Bike pushing became a fin e art that only the longtimers had mastered. I wa s not on e of them. There was perha ps none better than ou r "Gunk." In one smooth motion, he cou ld guide a fu ll-dress Gold Wing into a space no w ider than th e gap of a B9EV spa rk plug . He was tru ly amazing. So, wh a t would I do if I could do it all over again? "Goo d af ternoon KMart shoppe rs . Back in your sporting goods d ep artment, yo u' ll see the blue light flash in g.:." . Nahhh. I ') L O GBAC K. ~ . O KIN 25 Y SAGO EAR ... M 18,1971 AY ever by a rider in his first rij:;~n~li.rrI'71:-T-~i~o~~ Speedway. H is Byron t n al GP and th e h ighest an Hines-tu ned Suzuki put :=~~~ American had ever fin- ~"""\J..~ in a 7.71 -second run ished. against th e 8.84 second s of Jim Bernard's Vance & Hines Yamah a. 15 Y SAGO.•• EAR elg ia n Jo el Rob ert w enl to Switzerland and becam e the firs t rid er to w in 38 Gr a nd s Prix in World Championship co mp e titio n , b r eaking th e p r eviou s re co rd held by Swede To r s ten ~-:-'''!!!:~~li!!!i:;~§,J H a llman ... Gary Boyce was part of a tea m wh ich ca me fro m Asp en , Co lora do, to Mammo th Lakes, Ca liforn ia, for a skiing and motocross contes t. Boyce was the quick est on skis while Mammoth' s RandyMcCoy was th e fas test rider... Brad Lackey' s 13th overall in th e Poli sh Grand Prix was, accord in g to th e FIM, the bes t fini sh B MAY 13,1981 5YEAR SAGO... ead ing the way at MAY 15, 1991 San Jose, California , Ja y Springs if La r ry Roe seler, s ho w n on the co ver , stee n made it to the didn 't tear up th e top of the podium and John Zi nk Ran ch in Okl ath e cover of Cycl e homa enough on his way to N ews . Th e HarleyDavidso n fac to ry win ni n g ro u nd o ne o f th e rider took the lead on National Champions hip Relith e seco nd lap an d ability End uro Series, a tornad o to uc he d d o wn during a ra n a wa y with it... -.--;,;;::,;t.Ll~i!l~~ br eak in the fou r-d ay eve nt. .. Mark Barnett to o k -,......ol.lLUI the win a t round 10 of the AMA Super"Tha t was probabl y th e first cross Series in Kansas City, Missouri. ho lesh o t of m y ca ree r," sa id M i k e Mike Bell was at his side for mu ch of LaRocco at th e co ncl usio n o f the Las the race and mana ged to finis h seco nd Ve ga s Su p e rc ross . The 20-yea r-o ld despite cras hing twice... Terry Vance Hoosier led st art-to-fin ish for his first collecte d top hon ors a t the NH RA's Camel Supercross main-event victory ... Southern ationa ls at Atlan ta Intern aDoug Polen wo n both races at ro u nd L A two of the World Champio ns h ip Superbike Ser ies in [arama, Sp ain , lar ge ly by virtue of s tayin g upright while his riva ls cras hed do w n around him. Nine bikes went down in the first turn of race one, with a pair of two-bike collisions in the second race. rx

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